Since I came back from holiday everyone else at the shop has decided they want to go on holiday. So I'm getting extra hours next month. Keep on stashing the cash.
Viewing the 'Work' Category
Today is the day of the big tax changes, hailed by our Minister of Finance as the most important in 25 years. Goods and services tax goes up 2 and 1/2%, and income tax is lowered, in my case the bracket goes down 3 and 1/2%. With an income of less than nz$20,000 pa I really don't expect to see much significant difference.
The govt says this is being introduced bacuse it is fairer, I suspect, as I grow more curmudgeonly in my old age, it is because they hope people will spend more and get the economy moving again. Also, with sales tax, they can hand on much of the cost of collecting it to the business owners instead of govt employees.
Be that as it may, I can only control my personal economy. I continue to be one of those scrooges who are sitting on their bank account and deepening the recession. I did a little stockpiling last week before the prices went up, of toothpaste and canned tomatoes. I was looking for a double bed to buy, but couldn't find one I liked.
The changover of prices is a major hassle for retailers. My local supermarket has a notice up saying problem postponed over the weekend. At work, like many other places, the owners have decided to take the opportunity to review prices and stocktake. Much of my day today was taken up counting tubes of buttons (yes, every button had to be counted) and deciding whether the price should be rounded up another 5 cents. This is important skilled work, bud - you need a university degree for this. My poor back is aching after standing all day on a concrete floor.
There was a line crew working down the street today. One guy was up in a box trimming overhanging branches away from the lines. Three others leaned on shovels, apparantly waiting to bury him if he got electrocuted. No wonder my power bill is so high.
feels like this week has rushed by. On Wednesday we all got such a surprised when the shop manager announced she was quitting next week to go to University. She has been getting a lot of grief from head office so I'm not really surprised she's leaving, but I don't know that rushing into a big student loan is the best long run decision for a single mom with three kids. But perhaps she'll get a high paying job and it will all work out. She's a nice person, just stressed out from all the hassles, and I wish her all the best.
Now, I have been asked to consider whether I want to take over the manager's job. In many ways it is a nice job and offers the right hours, but having seen how the company can treat its staff, plus the pay offered is pretty low, I'm looking to move on myself.
It's a great thing to have money saved up. It means I can take my time looking for the right position and not have to rush into something regrettable because I need the money.
All the students are coming back into town and the businesses are lined up to offer them freebies. As I was coming back home across the campus a young chap offered me a free bottle of ginger beer. So now I'm going to put my feet up and relax with a drink.
I have been talking to my dr and as I handled the extra hours over New Year well, he agrees I can start looking for 30 hours a week again. This is officially a full time job, so I am now transferred from the sickness benefit to the unemployment benefit. No change in financial circumstances as the amount paid is the same, but to say I'm unemployed implies a temporary situation whereas when I'm sick I get very depressed thinking I'm going to stuck like this. Anyway, I met with a work broker today to discuss a work plan, It won't be easy with so many still out of work, but I have an advantage in that I am already doing 2 pt jobs. I think I will look for retail work instead of going back to office work as I really enjoy working in the wool shop.
I really don't think nz$5 is all that expensive for a knitting pattern because you can use it any number of times, or resell it on trademe. But people grumble about the price.
This afternoon a customer asked me if they could take away a pattern and photocopy it!! When I got over my surprise I explained that wasn't possible because of copyright law and she went off muttering. When I looked again, she was sitting at the pattern table with pen and paper, copying out by hand!!!
Well, what can you do? the customer is always right and this one spends a lot on wool, so the manager said to leave her. But honestly, if you're that set against paying for a pattern why not look in the thrift stores or borrow a book on designing from the library and create your own.
So we are heading into spring and with the warmer weather, people are not buying as much wool. The word has come from head office that hours are to be cut back, so I will only be working Saturdays at the wool shop now. However we get a lot of tourists in summer and they like to buy New Zealand wool, so hours may pick up again. At least for the meantime, I will be able to go to creative writing classes again.
I have done my sums and will be able to still save $100 a month.
I have been asked if I will work 2 days at the shop, and I'm happy to do that, but the math really sux. Above the nz$80 a week limit, I pay secondary income tax of 22 cents in the dollar, then WINZ deducts 70 cents in the dollar from my benefit. I am left ONE single dolar better off for every extra hour I work - and that's before I've paid for busfare and pantyhose. I shall still do it, because of getting a reference, but I feel like writing a letter to the Prime Minister asking him if he thinks this situation encourages people to help support themselves by working.
Today I worked both jobs. Boy am I pooped. But it's nice to be asked to work extra hours. At the shop this morning I was asked to bank the last 2 days of sale takings - great thick envelopes stuffed with $20 bills. I was glancing over my shoulder the whole way in case someone was stalking me. I was also considering whether I could claim expenses for 10 cents worth of shoe leather, when lo and behold! outside the bank I picked up a 20 cent and 2 10 cents.
Today we were putting away all the sales stock. i was cheered to realise how much was left and that it will all go out at the next sale. I won't be in such a rush to buy at a sale again - there'll always be another one.
On my way to the church cleaning job I stopped of at the little Asian grocers and bought 1.5 kg apples for nz$2. That is a very good price. Apples and all fruit have gotten real expensive.
I worked extra hours this week because of the sale. I spent all the extra money earned in the sale. 65 balls of wool. Nearly nz$100 worth. 16 white, 20 black, 20 earth tones, 8 purple and one striped sock wool. All 100% wool and very good value - if I needed it all.
I tell myself it is for gifts to knit for other people and for charity. I tell myself I haven't got a white cardigan so I need to knit one. I tell myself I won't be spending money on other things if I am sitting peacefully at home knitting.
Who am I kidding? I have a massive stash already. It will take me at least 2 years knitting to get thru it. Why do I keep buying yarn and then not get round to using it. I am addicted to the thrill of fondling the lovely balls, the planning of a new project, the excitement of casting on a new garment. Once I get finished I lose interest. I have knitted literally hundreds of jerseys and kept very few of them.
I make resolutions to not buy any more yarn until I have used up my stash. This week my resolve crumpled again. My stash is bigger than ever. The pleasure I get from knitting is beginning to be spoiled from worry about the money I am wasting. My hobby has gone thru passion to become an addiction.
There are no twelve step groups for compulsive yarn buyers. All knitters are stash hoarders and enable each others habit. Working in a yarn store is the worst environment for an addict. Everyone there only works to support their habit and spends more than they earn on wool.
My last remaining excuse is that if I didn't keep my fingers busy knitting I would be a chain smoker. There, I'm feeling virtuous again. It's good for my health.
It's that blessed debit card that does it. When I have only a little cash to spend i am careful because i don't want to get any more out, but since my pay went it the debit card keeps telling me - go on - only $6.00 for lunch; you've got $300 in your checking account, you can afford it. I guess I can because the bills come out of another account, but there are things I am planning to buy, like a new coat, and frittering my money away stops me reaching my goals. I only spent nz3.20 in cash today, on a needle guage which I'd planned to buy, but nz20.00 went on junk food and other junk. I'll have to stop carrying the plastic fantastic.
At work we were tearing the covers off the old knitting magazines to claim credit, and the manager told me I could take them home if I liked, so long as I didn't sell them to anyone. So now I have a fresh load of patterns - the trouble is I want to buy a fresh load of wool to knit them all. Hmm, I can see I am going to be spending a lot of my wages in the shop.
...but it pours. Today I got offered a second job, working at the LYS (local yarn store) on Saturday. I hope I can cope with 2 part time jobs, but there is a chance I may be offered more hours at the yarn store, in which case I will let the cleaning job go. In the meantime, I think it will be enough to see me through the winter (always a difficult time for me)
My mouse decided to celebrate by dying on me, so purchased a new one for nz29.95. I also thought I would buy myself a little treat, so went to a cafe I haven't been to before. A club sandwich and a long black cost me nz8.20. Ouch! I'll stick to a samosa from the Indian takeaway in future.
My church is looking for someone to clean. Just a few hours a week, but one must start somewhere, so I volunteered to spend the next week doing the cleaning. If it works out I should get the job.
I put in another p/t job application today, working at a yarn store. I would love that job, although it doesn't pay very much. But I would have to watch I don't spend all my money on knitting supplies.
At the moment I'm knitting baby clothes for Pregnancy Help, but the wool was all donated.
i put in 2 p/t job applications today. One as a radio station receptionist, the other conducting phone surveys. I have a feeling in my bones I'll get the latter. Yes, I'm going to be one of those annoying people who ring you up at dinnertime and ask you about your opinion of different brands of dog food. But if I don't get a job soon I'll be the one eating dog food.
...saves nine, as granma always used to say. I was so peeved about that library fine, I took a couple minutes to sign up to libraryelf.com. I'd been told some time previously this was available and kept meaning to get round to it. Procrastination has cost me money!!
Those of you bothered by returning books on the due date, check to see if your local library is linked to it.
I have been told of a free community college course I am eligible for, doing computing. i thik I'dlike to get my typig speed up to 60wpm with less errorrs!!! Owing to the lack of flexibility in all my joints and limbs this may be difficult, but there are good jobs out there for speedy typists. I also want to do web design, MYOB and payroll. that should get me a wider range of temping jobs. I found a free trial version of TypingMaster, the same one used by the college, so am practicing 30 minutes every day at home. The advantage of going down to college is someone else pays for the heating!!
Now as a thrift store habituee I must admit I don't pay much attention to fashion, I just buy what I like. But a couple of gentle hints have been dropped that I am a little bit - uh, showing that I'm now in late youth and still wearing the clothes that were popular in my - trendier years. Important to dress for success if I'm job hunting! And since losing weight I need new clothes anyway.
So I decided to spend some time browsing the Main Street stores, then I'd know what to look for - in the thrift stores, of course. Well! I found some of the clothes pretty enough, but the prices! Oh me, my wallet would have a heart attack if it had to pony up over nz$20 for a few flimsy bits of material poorly sewn together. Some of those things look like they will become shredded rags the first time they are laundered.
So I left the teenagers to it and checked out the higher end of town, where the succesful business women shop. Now there was some really nice stuff, well made - but nz$120 for a simple black top with some beads sewn on? Reminds me of when I was a teenager; we used to get a plain T shirt and applique or embroider a motif on it ourselves rather than pay for a fancy one. Now I still have some cheap jewellry from India, so I was thinking I will just get a basic top and sew the beads on myself - come to think of it, why not just wear a plain top with a pretty necklace? You wouldn't need to worry about beads coming unsewn and blocking the pump!
I don't think I'll spring too much for a new wardrobe until I know what sort of job I get, but best dressed working women I know told me to go for basic black with a few solid colors - much easier to coordinate and saves time having to make deicsions. In the meantime I've borrowed Trinny and Susannah and Stacy and Clinton from the library as they haven't yet arrived at my front door with $$$ and a team of stylists to make me a knockout.
Oh and a NS day - second in a row - plus I found 80 cents.
Got two "thankyouforyourapplicationweregrettotellyouyouhavenotbeensuccesful" letters, so am feeling a bit blue. I really thought I had a good chance at the bookstore one in particular.
It costs me each time I make an application: nz$1.40 for an A4 envelope and stamp, plus the ink and paper for printing out CV and letter. Then busfare to an interview - unfortunately job hunting costs are not reclaimable from Work and Income.
Previously when I kept myself busy with volunteer work I was given a small allowance for travel and lunches, but this is no longer payable to the unemployed, only to sickness and invalid beneficiaries. I'm tempted to write to the Minister of Social Welfare and ask him what genius came up with that idea. I would have thought it better to encourage unemployed to at least do something.
Ah, it's not just the lack of job and money that's getting me down. I'm missing ds and also grieving for dad. Also coming into winter here and that can be cold, damp and miserable. So I had a dig thru my stash and pulled out some bright red wool to knit myself a cheerful scarf.
I haven't blogged for a while, i know. It's been a bit of a struggle lately, and I'm rather depressed about having so little money to live on. It's nice catching up with you guys, to know I'm not alone and see everybody working so hard toward their goals.
Today I had a job interview, which i think went well. The interviewer asked me one question - what was the achievement I was proudest of? I suppose I should have said something work related, but the first thing came to me: I'm really proud of the fact tho I had nothing after my relationship breakup, I managed to buy a house for myself and ds - and get it paid off in 15 years.
Well, he WAS impressed. He said, "that's amazing. I'm 55 and I'm scared I won't get my mortgage paid off before retirement." I didn't say I only had a little cottage, and he prob has a huge mansion, but I went home feeling much happier. I remember when I got the final letter from the bank, I threw a mortgage burning party. It felt like a great burden had been lifted off me to be debtfree.
Since then I've been drifting a bit I guess. I was so focused on that goal, i wasn't sure what to do next, and the idea of saving up 00s of 000s for my retiremnt seemed so enormous, it was hard see progress. But now I'm motivated to get started again. When you're a bit down it helps to remember past victories.
Oh I'm feeling rotten. I've got la misery virus. Neverthless I forced myself to go to the interview where I was informed the job had already gone (Gee thanks - you let me drag myself into town to tell me that?) I'm going to curl up in bed for the weekend - looks forward to chocolate on Easter Sunday.
However, I have now reached my goal of 160 pounds - maybe not too much chocolate.
Dragged out of bed at 6.00 this morning to answer the phone. It was ds calling from England and he was so excited. He told me he'd won a scholarship and would be doing a PhD at Oxford University. You can imagine how pleased and proud I was.
Oh. You guessed it. April Fool's joke. I crushingly informed him that it was already April 2 over here, so the joke was on him. But he did have some real good news; he's starting a job as trainee manager in a chain store.
And I got some better news later on. My work broker told me of a vacancy in a women's clothing store which she thought would suit me. Interview on Wednesday.
When I went grocery shopping this morning the supermarket had a sign saying they were looking for produce assistants. I like my veggies so filled in an application form. When I got home I spent some time job searching on the net, and found our local museum is looking for a data entry person for 6 months. Pay is not very high but sounds like an interesting job, and it is close enough for me to walk to work. If I get it I would be able to save $100 a week.
I haven't mentioned I started the new job this week. They suggested I come in from 2-6, but I found I could complete the work in only 3 hours. Since noone is around to supervise me, I could be dishonest and pad the timesheet. Of course I don't do that, but it means I am earning less money.
I also found out that I am not getting paid weekly on this contract, but in a lump sum at the end. So it is a good job I was able to put aside so much money last month. I can't imagine how I would cope if I lived paycheck to paycheck.
I know some folks have commented in their blogs about getting bills for ridiculous amounts like 15 cents. Well, today I was preparing the invoices for sending out, and I came across a number for very low amounts, even ones for .01 cent, and even for zero, (where nothing was actually sent out, just to let them know it was backordered)
The thing is, when a transaction occurs, the computer automatically spits out the paperwork. So you might have a situation in which you wrote out a check, but accidently transposed the last 2 digits. The computer will record the difference, and send it out on the next bill. It should be checked by the sender, but when you have over 400 invoices to put in envelopes, along with your regular work, there isn't always time to scrutinise every figure. i did cull the silly ones this time.
And hey - who says you can't earn money stuffing envelopes? I got paid nz13 an hour for doing just that this morning.
then the boss decided the place should be put in order for the end of the year, so I was busy dusting shelves. Again, nice money for doing some cleaning.
At the end of the day, the boss had got some fruit cakes in for giving to customers, so he handed each of us one of the leftover ones as a thankyou gift. Yummy!
The temping agency rang me today. I am finishing this job on Friday, but they want me to go for another pt job starting on Jan 3. So I will have a nice 10 day break over Christmas/New Year, then more money coming in.
Last week I tripped over the phone cord and had a bad fall - my arm was so sore one of my coworkers insisted on driving me to A&E to get it xrayed. Fortunately there was no fracture, but I have a massive bruise on my elbow. However I can still use the arm. I am so glad we have a free hospital system in New Zealand.
End of the month is all good news
I finished knitting a beanie for ds and posted it on time to get cheaper rates.
Income for Nov was the highest it has been in a looong time; $1353.20, and i spent only $668.23. Woohoo saved 50% of my income!
AND the boss asked me if I would be willing to work 30 hours a week until Christmas. My doctor is agreeable to me giving it a trial, so who knows? Maybe next year I will be able to get back to full time work.
With everything so up in the air last month I didn't keep track of all my expenses. I was also doing a fair bit of comfort spending at the little coffee-and-muffin shop near the hospital. As near as I can calculate I have spent $55 there, and a total of over $1500 this month. But I did buy a new fridge/freezer, do some necessary repairs round home, pay Toastmaster fees and make a $90 donation to charity. So I guess that's okay, it's just that my savings account is now down to $214 so I need to rebuild it. I also have $2020 in Bonus Bonds which I can borrow against if need be.
On the job front, I have been told about a part-time position at the local library which I have a fairly good chance of getting. I am allowed to earn up to $80 a week before my benefit starts getting cut, but I think I would work at the library for free!! There are also positions at the Art Gallery and Museum of a few hours per week. I have been told I can get help with transport costs as well, tho as they are all not too far from home, I will probably walk.
Because all my work clothes are rather old, I went shopping in the consignment shops this week and found a nice turquoise suit for $15. The only drawback is I will be required to spend money on pantyhose, and I need some new shoes.